Knowing and the Mystique of Logic and Rules

True Statements in Knowing and Action * Computer Modelling of Human Knowing Activity * Coherent Description as the Core of Scholarship and Science

  • Peter Naur

Part of the Studies in Cognitive Systems book series (COGS, volume 18)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. The Psychology of Knowing

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-4
    2. Peter Naur
      Pages 51-70
    3. Peter Naur
      Pages 71-73
    4. Peter Naur
      Pages 75-86
    5. Peter Naur
      Pages 87-89
  3. Language, or Knowing and Human Expression

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 91-94
    2. Peter Naur
      Pages 95-110
    3. Peter Naur
      Pages 121-136
    4. Peter Naur
      Pages 137-160
  4. Computing Versus Human Knowing

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 161-163
    2. Peter Naur
      Pages 165-169
    3. Peter Naur
      Pages 171-188
  5. Scholarship and Science

  6. Back Matter
    Pages 351-367

About this book


Human knowing is examined as it emerges from classical empirical psychology, with its ramifications into language, computing, science, and scholarship. While the discussion takes empirical support from a wide range, claims for the significance of logic and rules are challenged throughout. Highlights of the discussion:
  • knowing is a matter of habits or dispositions that guide the person's stream of consciousness;
  • rules of language have no significance in language production and understanding, being descriptions of linguistic styles;
  • statements that may be true or false enter into ordinary linguistic activity, not as elements of messages, but merely as summaries of situations, with a view to action;
  • in computer programming the significance of logic, proof, and formalized description, is incidental and subject to the programmer's personality;
  • analysis of computer modelling of the mental activity shows that in describing human knowing the computer is irrelevant;
  • in accounting for the scholarly/scientific activity, logic and rules are impotent;
  • a novel theory: scholarship and science have coherent descriptions as their core.
The discussion addresses questions that are basic to advanced applications of computers and to students of language and science.


Bertrand Russell Gilbert Ryle language modeling science

Authors and affiliations

  • Peter Naur
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CopenhagenDenmark

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1995
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-90-481-4609-3
  • Online ISBN 978-94-015-8549-1
  • Series Print ISSN 0924-0780
  • Buy this book on publisher's site